Drug companies, including the makers of Dimetapp and Pediacare, announced that parents and caregivers should never give over the counter cold remedies to children under the age of four.
In addition to the new recommendations, drug makers also announced that they are introducing new dispensers to ensure proper dosing of medicines and will begin a campaign aimed at educating parents.
“We are doing this voluntarily out of an abundance of caution,” Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
The Over the Counter Cold and Cough Remedy Industry Advise Parents Should Never:
* Give over the counter cold and cough remedies to children under the age of four
* Give adult medicines to a child
* Give 2 or more medicines with the same ingredients at the same time
* Give antihistamines to make a child sleepy
The Over the Counter Cold and Cough Remedy Industry Advices that Parents Should:
* Give the exact recommended dose using the measuring device that comes with medicines
* Keep medicines our of sight and reach of children
* Consult their doctors with any questions
The History of the Debate Over Children and Cold Remedies
Last year companies made recommendations that children under the age 2 should not be given over the counter cold remedies and instructions on cold remedy packages were changed.
The recommendation came as part of a chain reaction of pressure on drug companies by the Food and Drug Administration which was being pressured by pediatricians who argued that over the counter cold remedies are not only ineffective but also put young children at risk for adverse side effects.
Many pediatricians actually argued for the recommendations to apply to children under the age six. Cold and cough products, which have been available for young children for decades, were not scientifically tested for effectiveness.
Emergency rooms see some 7,000 children annually with adverse side effects from incorrect dosages or accidental ingestion of cold and cough products including hives, drowsiness and unsteady walking.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., commits that he will continue to press the FDA to ban the drugs for children under 6.
“While I’m pleased to see that the drug companies are voluntarily taking some steps to ensure the safety and well being of our children, I am disappointed that the FDA has not followed the recommendations of its own advisory panel,” Dodd said.
Senior FDA official Dr. Janet Woodcock said restricting use of the medicines to children over 4 makes sense as an interim step. Woodcock explained the agency will continue to study the risks and benefits in children under 12, a process that could take years, before pulling all cough and cold remedies for children that could push parents to give their children adults medicines instead.
So what is parent to do when a young child is miserable with a cold?
At askdrsears.com pediatricians recommend:
• Running a got steam vaporizer
• Flushing stuffy noses with saline
• Propping kids slightly upright to sleep better
• Giving plenty of fluids
• Offering chicken soup or other hot broths
• Including fruits and vegetables in their daily diet
This Mom also recommends plenty of soft tissues, hand washing and good library books.
Sources include newsvine.com and The Roanoke Times, December 12, 2008